Do White Gold Tarnish?

do white gold tarnish

“Does white gold tarnish?” And the answer is yes, it does; however, what people are really asking is why and how they can stop it. Tarnishing is a natural process that occurs with all metals; silver will tarnish and so will gold.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

White gold is not pure. It’s an alloy of different metals like nickel, zinc, palladium, and sometimes even copper that make up 58% of the metal in white gold jewelry. These alloys can react to oxygen and moisture in the air resulting in discoloration.

Because of this discoloration, white gold is plated with rhodium. Rhodium is a hard and durable metal from the platinum group that makes your jewelry looking shiny and white again. White gold tarnishes because rhodium wears off over time from regular use or from being exposed to lotions and perfumes.

Factors that Cause White Gold to Tarnish

White gold starts off as yellow gold that has an alloy of palladium or nickel added to it. It is then plated with rhodium in order to give it a white hue. Because of this, white gold can become tarnished due to the same factors that would cause an ordinary yellow gold alloy to tarnish.

Some examples of these factors include the presence of sulfuric compounds in the air and water, exposure to sweat and some skincare products, and even contact with household items like rubber bands and wool cloths. 

However, if you take good care of your white gold jewelry and keep it regularly cleaned and polished, there is no reason why it should ever become tarnished.

What Damages White Gold?

Your white gold jewelry can become damaged over time, but there are a few things you can do to protect it and help prevent damage from happening.

Apart from your skin’s natural oil, other substances such as hand lotions, hair products, tanning creams, and perfumes contain chemicals that can affect the finish of your white gold jewelry.

Jumping into a pool or hot tub with your ring on is also something to avoid if possible. Not only could your ring slip off in the water without you realizing it, but pool chemicals may cause discoloration or damage to the surface of your ring.

Bathing With White Gold

To prevent tarnish, avoid bathing with your white gold jewelry. If you do forget to take it off or it was accidentally exposed to the water in the pool or spa, a quick wipe down with a soft cloth will remove most of the residue and polish out any scratches. 

If this doesn’t work and you notice that your white gold jewelry is starting to turn yellow, fear not! There are plenty of home remedies for removing tarnish from white gold jewelry; one of the easiest is baking soda. 

Mix baking soda with hot water until you have a paste, apply directly to your jewelry, rub gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and voila! Your white gold should be looking like new.

Swimming With White Gold

Swimming with white gold can be a lot of fun. But there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid swimming in pools, especially those with chlorine.
  • Avoid the ocean and any other bodies of water with salt—salt can have negative effects on gold, even if it’s not white. It’s best to avoid it together.
  • If you’re going to swim in a lake or river, that should be fine as long as there aren’t many pollutants like chemicals or oil that could get on the gold.
  • To be entirely safe when swimming with jewelry made of white gold, simply remove it before jumping in the pool or ocean. As another solution, consider wearing a waterproof watch instead of other types of jewelry when you’re planning to swim.*

Cleaning Products and Harsh Chemicals

A white gold ring is easy to take care of if you use a little bit of common sense. Use as few cleaning products as possible and be careful around harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia. You can even clean your white gold with a bit of water and soap, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly so that there are no soapy residues left on the surface.

How Do You Keep White Gold From Tarnishing?

To keep your white gold from tarnishing, it is important to follow these tips:

  • Keep your white gold jewelry clean and dry. Be sure to wipe off any moisture with a soft cloth, and store it in an airtight container to keep it protected.
  • Keep your jewelry away from chemicals. Avoid wearing your white gold jewelry while cleaning the house or gardening (or any other time you may be exposed to harsh chemicals). Also avoid swimming in saltwater, as this will cause corrosion.
  • Remove your white gold jewelry when doing household chores. Many household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can corrode the metal of your jewelry and damage the finish on the stone.
  • Avoid wearing white gold jewelry in the pool or shower. Chlorine can cause discoloration and pit on the surface of your ring. If you must wear it in these circumstances, make sure to rinse it thoroughly afterward with soap and warm water and dry it immediately with a soft cloth before storing it in a protective pouch or box for safekeeping!
  • Store your white gold jewelry in a soft pouch or box that does not have fabric lining (any type of fabric will absorb moisture from humidity). You should also wrap each piece individually so they do not touch; this prevents scratching against other metals over time which could lead to discoloration due to oxidation reactions happening between them at different rates depending on their chemical makeup.”

Also See: Does Rhodium Tarnish?

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